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Thread: Evolution Debate returns to Kansas.

  1. #1 Evolution Debate returns to Kansas. 
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    http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/05...eut/index.html



    Why does nobody defend the teaching of Evolution in the obvious way?

    First of all there's this:
    William Harris, a medical researcher and co-founder of a Kansas group called the Intelligent Design Network, posed the core question about life's beginnings before mapping out why he and other Christians want changes in school curriculum.

    School science classes are teaching children that life evolved naturally and randomly, Harris said, arguing that this was in conflict with Biblical teachings that God created life.
    Yes, the evidence is in conflict with Biblical teachings. How is that science or education's problem?

    "They are offering an answer that may be in conflict with religious views," Harris said in opening the debate.
    Indeed!
    "Part of our overall goal is to remove the bias against religion that is currently in schools.
    There really isn't anything that science or education can do about the fact that the evidence for the origins of life over millions of years contradict a book written about 2½ thousand years ago. What should they do? Cover up the evidence? It's religion that has to adjust.
    "This is a scientific controversy that has powerful religious implications."
    It's not a controversy in science. And if it has religious implications, it's religion that has to change. I didn't disagree with anything the Fundie said there, but he seems to have drawn the wrong conclusion.

    Then the evolutionists don't help the cause very much with stuff like this:
    Ken Schmitz, a University of Missouri/Kansas City chemistry professor attending the hearing said he worried that the attack on evolution could confuse students and endanger their ability to excel in science.

    "They are not going to understand this," said Schmitz.
    If they can't understand how baseless and attack on scientific evidence and reason is, I'm not sure we want them working in the sciences anyway! Way to patronise the kids, there, Schmitz!

    I was not aware of this, and I find it disturbing:
    Changes to the curriculum proposed by the conservatives would not require inclusion of Biblical beliefs in science classes, also called "creationism" -- the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1987 that creationism could not be taught in public schools alongside evolution.
    Believe me, I don't want Creationism taught in schools any more than anybody else, but where the hell does the Supreme Court come off dictating what should and should not be taught in American schools, public or not?

    Anyway, my most important point is this:
    But they would involve questioning the principles of evolution as explanations for the origins of life, the universe and the genetic code. As well, teachers would be encouraged to discuss with students "alternative explanations."
    My entire problem with the resurgence of Creationism and the attack on teaching that which conflicts with Biblical belief, despite all the evidence in its favour, is not just a matter of Science vs. Religion. The fact is that knowing Evolution actually matters - it has actual consequences on our ability to treat disease and feed the hungry. Creationism is all very well as an "alternative explanation", but what does it get you? You can't learn anything useful from the statement "It was created by God." In the United States, where they continually seek immortality, this is surely more important than anything else?

    [Thread originally on In The News forum where it got no responses]


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    What can I say? Didn't we go through all this with the scopes monkey trial? Let them go to their own schools if they want to. I mean, there are private Jewish, Catholic, and Islamic schools. If they want taxes to pay for schools, it can't promote a particular religion, and ID is thinly veiled christianity. The term intelligent design even came right out of the scopes trial.


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    The real problem is that people often do not distinguish between science and ethics. This goes for the non-religious as well as for the religious.

    For the non-religious and the religious who don't make that distinction, "God did it" says no more but "hocus-pocus-poof-and-it-happened".
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    The sad thing is with the imminent end of the fossil fuel age, religiousness will probably increase, and science left without resources. In this future, vocational training and cultural assimilation will be the role of schools.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    Believe me, I don't want Creationism taught in schools any more than anybody else, but where the hell does the Supreme Court come off dictating what should and should not be taught in American schools, public or not?
    Because teaching religion in public schools is a Constitutional issue. That whole First Amendment question and the principle of "Separation of Church and State". They're not telling schools whether they should teach "new math" or "home ec" but that teaching Creationism constitutes establishment of a state religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by water
    The real problem is that people often do not distinguish between science and ethics. This goes for the non-religious as well as for the religious.

    For the non-religious and the religious who don't make that distinction, "God did it" says no more but "hocus-pocus-poof-and-it-happened".
    Irrelevant. The answer, "God did it" tells us nothing about "it".

    ~Raithere
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  7. #6 Why creationism isn't science, and other thoughts 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    Why does nobody defend the teaching of Evolution in the obvious way?
    As I understand it, it's an issue of principle:

    In what could become perceived as a modern-day Monkey Trial in Kansas, an attorney who's supposed to defend evolution in public hearings doesn't plan to call any witnesses or debate the theory's merits ....

    .... He is working with science and education groups that have boycotted the hearings and said he will attempt to shed light on evolution critics' motives. A three-member board subcommittee scheduled four days of hearings, starting Thursday in Topeka, to review evidence for and against evolution.

    "We determined that it would be inappropriate to debate an issue such as evolution with individuals who are merely bringing to table a supernatural answer," Irigonegaray said during an interview.
    It seems that certain scientific and educational groups are so disgusted that the process has come this far that they're boycotting the event altogether. Furthermore, attorney Irigonegaray has a point: there's no value in arguing with these creationist folks.

    I don't think it's necessarily an issue of patronizing the students, but think of it this way: if enough people already have a problem distinguishing creationism from science, including "intelligent design" in the science curriculum is going to only further confusion. Namely, this will occur by overstating the significance of "unresolved" issues within evolution.

    We must bear in mind that evolution is a scientific process, still unresolved, and such is the nature of continuous scientific inquiry. "Intelligent design" is a closed system: barring scientifically valid and reliable evidence of the creator itself, "I.D." cannot be proven. The challenge facing creationists as such, then, becomes to scientifically test the existence of God. Without this, their superstition has no credibility as science.

    Unable to provide such a hypothesis and experimental method, creationists retreat to complaining about unresolved issues within the evolutionary framework. It is as if the notion of, "Stay tuned for the answer to that question," is unacceptable. Of course, this might be easily explained when we recall that creationism works within a realm of absolutes.

    If we remember that this is a political issue first and foremost, it becomes worth noting that we're talking about a certain segment of political conservatism, and between federal spending issues, the seizing of education and social security banners, and recent government intrusions against the sanctity of family, it seems these conservatives can't even elect a proper conservative government.

    Is it any wonder they wouldn't know proper science if it bit them in the ass?

    If "intelligent design" can be turned into a valid science, then creationists ought to make it so, and stop mixing religious politics with scientific discipline. The fumes are toxic.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    Hanna, John. "No witnesses for evolution planned; attorney sees legal challenge". Kansas.com (Associated Press). May 2, 2005. See http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/new...e/11547007.htm
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiassa
    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    Why does nobody defend the teaching of Evolution in the obvious way?
    As I understand it, it's an issue of principle:
    It should also be pointed out that, at this time, there is nothing to debate from a scientific perspective. ID lacks even a valid scientific hypothesis much less any supportive evidence. For a scientist the argument is over, at least until the opposing theory can present some evidence to examine.

    The entire ID argument boils down to the logical fallacy of "argument from incredulity", "This thing is complex. I cannot believe, or it is unlikely, that such complexity can arise from natural causes. Therefore it must have been deliberately designed". (Side note: They would say random or chance causes, rather than natural causes, but nature is not truly random; yet another deception.)

    Evolution, on the other hand, is an extremely robust theory supported by reams of evidence. Perhaps more importantly, it also fits the theories and evidence found in many other, disparate, fields of science. It has also influenced and spawned many other fields of study, affording new perspectives and insights.

    Lacking evidence, or even a hypothesis, any debate offered by the ID camp invariably comes down to attacks against specific cases within the realm of Evolution. Most such attacks are straw-man arguments, misdirection or flat out lies. Even a cursory search reveals that the surety with which scientific opinions are presented by the ID camp are non-existent in the primary works. The C14 dating from a mammoth find is questioned without regard to the specifics of the find or the methodology involved. The unbroken continuity of a species fossil record is challenged when it was, in fact, never asserted. And so on.

    The spurious nature of such debates, presented by ID creationists as "scientific", leaves little appeal or benefit to the scientific community. ID creationists don't attend debates to offer arguments and evidence to support their pet idea, they have none. All such debates can really do is raise the legitimacy of ID in public opinion and cast unwarranted doubt upon Evolution and science in general.

    Unfortunately, the ID creationists have become so vocal that they have forced the issue into the public awareness. IMO the scientific community does itself no favor in refusing to debate. I believe it comes across to the public as arrogant, narrow minded, and perhaps even as fear or denial.

    I believe a more fruitful approach would be to turn the tables on the ID creationists. Rather than debating these issues in a forum set by the ID camp, science needs to set its own forum. We should invite ID proponents to debate under ground rules that require more than a machine-gun spattering of challenges and unsupported assertions.

    In any ID debate it is critically important to attack and not just defend. Challenge and force ID to support its own argument if it can. Once you've taken the defensive position your opponent can easily keep you on your heels simply by continuing with a barrage of one line questions. ID debating style is aggressive and manipulative and very, very cunning. Prepare yourself before enjoining battle.

    ~Raithere
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    Raithere,


    Irrelevant. The answer, "God did it" tells us nothing about "it".
    And you, too, do not distinguish between science and ethics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raithere
    I believe a more fruitful approach would be to turn the tables on the ID creationists. Rather than debating these issues in a forum set by the ID camp, science needs to set its own forum. We should invite ID proponents to debate under ground rules that require more than a machine-gun spattering of challenges and unsupported assertions.

    In any ID debate it is critically important to attack and not just defend. Challenge and force ID to support its own argument if it can. Once you've taken the defensive position your opponent can easily keep you on your heels simply by continuing with a barrage of one line questions. ID debating style is aggressive and manipulative and very, very cunning. Prepare yourself before enjoining battle.
    I used to think along these lines, when reading about the debates that have taken place in the past. But then I realised that it's just a big talking shop, and nobody is convincing anybody else.

    Furthermore, Richard Dawkins eventually realised that actually participating in debates gives the Creationists their platform on which to espouse their views, and it's better not to engage with them at all, but to just carry on having debates on science with scientists. To that end he wrote to Stephen Jay Gould and suggested they issue a joint statement. Dawkins and Gould were on opposite sides of certain debates about Evolution within the biological sciences community, and they have both pithily expressed their opinions of each other's works in reviews! But Gould enthusiastically agreed that it was because they were rivals that they could do the most good - that they disagreed on the mechanism of evolution, but neither having any doubt about the validity of the theory as a whole, would make the best point of all. Sadly, Gould, who was very busy with his magnum opus The Structure of Evolutionary Theory while fighting mesothelioma, was unable to get back to Dawkins with a rewrite or comments on their joint statement, and then he finally succumbed to his cancer. The statement as Dawkins drafted it, as well as the text of Gould's enthusiastic agreement are reprinted in The Devil's Chaplain.

    The upshot of all this is that any kind of debate with Creationists is worthless and gives them publicity.
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    any kind of debate with Creationists is worthless and gives them publicity.

    Agreed, but it also gives Evolution equal time.

    In fact, I can't think of a better weekly prime-time one-hour show on all the major networks with Creationists and Darwinists 'duking it out,' so to speak.

    Give it HUGE publicity. Bring it all out in the open under the watchful eyes of millions of people worldwide, detail by ghastly detail.

    I think that over time and with massive publicity the Creationists would eventually lose support.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    I used to think along these lines, when reading about the debates that have taken place in the past. But then I realised that it's just a big talking shop, and nobody is convincing anybody else.

    Furthermore, Richard Dawkins eventually realised that actually participating in debates gives the Creationists their platform on which to espouse their views, and it's better not to engage with them at all, but to just carry on having debates on science with scientists.
    I would tend to agree but I believe that at this point the decision is out of our hands. ID has been able to insert itself into the public mind and it must be addressed, directly. 10 or maybe even 5 years ago the best approach was to refuse debate as it would only lend credence to the notion that ID was in some manner scientific. When the Kansas board of education went after evolution the first time, it seemed mostly a fluke. It was quickly rebutted, board members were voted out and the decision was reversed. But they're back again, which indicates that in Kansas at least, there are enough people that believe in the movement to gain its support on a governmental level. No, I do believe that at this point we need to present a public forum that allows ID creationists to reveal ID as religion and not a science.

    But Gould enthusiastically agreed that it was because they were rivals that they could do the most good - that they disagreed on the mechanism of evolution, but neither having any doubt about the validity of the theory as a whole, would make the best point of all.
    Alas, that would have been wonderful to see.

    ~Raithere
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    Quote Originally Posted by water
    And you, too, do not distinguish between science and ethics.
    How do you figure? My ethics are not based upon science but upon reason, philosphy, and my subjective opinion.

    Or more to the point, I'll simply ask; What then does "God did it" tell us about "it"? Let's try a simple example:

    Q: Why does the Sun travel across the sky?
    A: God causes the Sun to travel across the sky.

    Now, what knowledge did we gain about the Sun from this answer?

    ~Raithere
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    This thing came up some years ago in Tennessee (scene of Scopes), and I love what Bill Bryson wrote: "So the problem for Tennesseeans is not so much that they may be descended from apes, but that they might soon be overtaken by them."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    Why does nobody defend the teaching of Evolution in the obvious way?
    My question is, why does nobody challenge the basic tenet of Intelligent Design in the obvious way?

    ID proposes that an intelligence must be responsible for ordering and maintaining so complex and intricate systems such as life, the universe, and everything.

    Well, an intelligence capable of ordering and maintaining such a complex system is certainly capable of doing so through logical, comprehensible, and self-regulating means.

    The Means are the purview of science; the intelligence believed behind the means is the purview of religion.

    What, a God who could create the universe, but not come up with evolution? I find that blasphemous.

    Or has this argument been logically refuted elsewhere? I admit I don't keep up on ID arguments.
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  17. #16 For the Brain of J 
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    Quote Originally Posted by j
    My question is, why does nobody challenge the basic tenet of Intelligent Design in the obvious way?
    This is one of those occasions on which I become very annoying to certain people, in this case, namely, creationists.

    To revisit a couple of points of my own:

    <blockquote>• If we remember that this is a political issue first and foremost .... (see above)

    • I've found in practical terms that people who look to an absolute arbiter, e.g. "God", often stand on their moral declarations "just because". Something is simply right or wrong, just or unjust, and "God" is the idealistic standard against which those judgments are compared. To the other, though, people who make more practical considerations ... are often ignored or else derided as obscure, nonsensical, elitist, confusing, too complicated, ad nauseam. (see "Ranting & Blithering")</blockquote>

    Remembering that Intelligent Design is largely a political issue, I would respond that there's no point in challenging the basic tenet of Intelligent Design because creationists are simply unable to comprehend the issues. This is, admittedly, a harsh view of a large number of people, and I certainly can't extend the ignorance of a few creationists who have told me flat-out that they have no obligation to demonstrate the existence of the creator/designer to the whole gaggle without a larger sample. But my fundamental challenge to Intelligent Design is to simply ask the creationist to show scientifically-valid evidence that a designer/creator exists.

    The only drawback I can put forth to the issue you raise is that the bulk of theology motivating the I.D. movement is rife with notions like "God works in mysterious ways", and that God needs not operate in accord with nature. Perhaps a second hitch, albeit of unknown magnitude, is characterized in a biology teacher I knew in high school. His answer was simple: God made the Universe and evolution is His tool.

    Part of the problem is that creationists can't seem to comprehend that it's possible for the Universe to generate life without divine intervention. Their lynchpin is the idea that we haven't reproduced the phenomenon yet.

    And, well, when we stop to think that disease was variously attributed to the existence of sin, or to demons and devils until the invention of the microscope and a developing knowledge of microbes, the problem with the creationist argument should become clear. If we stop to consider the Wright brothers, or perhaps a couple of Frenchmen and their famous gasbag, what can we say?

    When I took my university science requirement, largely astronomy, albeit just enough to satisfy my core requirements in accompaniment with some geology, I recall one of my professors asserting that understanding the Big Bang was down to a matter of microseconds. It won't be long, as such, before science has the opportunity to face down the question that religionists--especially Christians--disdain so greatly. Consider:

    <blockquote>• What came before the ball that banged? How did we arrive at the Big Bang?

    • What created God?</blockquote>

    Are creationists prepared to explore the origin of God? Does that authority become "God"? If God is outside of time inasmuch as God does not require creation and nothing came before God, then how is time anything but a fictional burden bestowed upon us by a designer? We run into the same question with God that we encounter with the Big Bang: what created the circumstances for origin?

    A huge difference is that science will continue to seek methods to test those questions; the theology leading to Intelligent Design creationism will continue to advocate superstitious presuppositions in lieu of knowledge.

    Although I would not be surprised if your question were to bring at least one answer that goes something like, "God is evolution. When God wants to alter the conditions, God alters the conditions." Thus, evolution becomes nothing more than the hand of God reaching down and tweaking genes, instead of a natural process.

    In the end, though, creationism is a political issue, because any questioning of the fundamental deficiencies of Intelligent Design is met with a blind assertion that equates superstition to science. They're beyond talking to because the priority of politics over knowledge has simply rendered them incapable of thinking outside the simplest, most nondescript box they can find.

    The Bible is a bit like putting God in a shoebox. Creationism is a bit like putting God in a decaying cardboard box sitting atop an oil stain beside a rural highway in the rain and calling it science:

    <blockquote>• "Don't you see? God is in that box. God is everywhere. You ask me to show you God, but you must only open your eyes and look at the trees, the sky, the fish and the birds. These things are evidence of God."</blockquote>

    Don't be surprised if you meet that response to inquiries about the existence of a designer. So much for cardboard science, eh?

    "The whole world will be different soon. The whole world will be relieved." (Pearl Jam)
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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  18. #17 Re: For the Brain of J 
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    Tiassa:
    Yeah, so?
    Really, I get the feeling you think I disagree with you fundamentally somewhere, but I don't know where.

    I gather your response to my question,
    Quote Originally Posted by j
    My question is, why does nobody challenge the basic tenet of Intelligent Design in the obvious way?
    is, 'They won't listen." [Well, you were a bit more eloquent than that.]

    But I am not interested in changing the minds of Creationists OR believers in ID. I am interested in keeping religions out of public schools. I believe that to do so, 'we' must respond to 'their' arguments.

    As for "God made the universe and evolution is His tool", that's fine with me. That does not attack the fundamental principles of scientific inquiry, because such a God is outside the purview of science. Just don't teach it in public schools.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiassa
    ... my fundamental challenge to Intelligent Design is to simply ask the creationist to show scientifically-valid evidence that a designer/creator exists...
    I agree that this is primarily a political issue; but I don't think your response is likely to be widely politcally successful.

    I will add that I think scientifically valid evidence of God an invalid concept. Science measures; measuring is defining the limits of something; the omnipotent and omniscient god of monotheism has no limits. So I do not think it an effective response against the teaching of Intelligent Design. I think the simple argument that God is outside the limits of science is a good one against the teaching of intelligent design.

    We need to convince well-meaning, instinctively religious, and scientifically ignorant people that teaching Intelligent Design is wrong, not necessarily that ID itself is.

    You may not be aware that some proponents of ID are moving away from a literal reading of the bible to distance themselves from Creationists, so ' "God works in mysterious ways", and that God needs not operate in accord with nature ' are not the arguments we will need to address in the future.
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    Quote Originally Posted by j
    Really, I get the feeling you think I disagree with you fundamentally somewhere, but I don't know where.
    It's actually rather small.

    The challenge to ID you pose is an interesting and legitimate theological point. But arguing theology with dishonest people won't get you or me or the next guy anything.

    I gather your response to my question, is, 'They won't listen."
    Won't or can't. Depends on the individual.

    But I am not interested in changing the minds of Creationists OR believers in ID. I am interested in keeping religions out of public schools. I believe that to do so, 'we' must respond to 'their' arguments.

    As for "God made the universe and evolution is His tool", that's fine with me. That does not attack the fundamental principles of scientific inquiry, because such a God is outside the purview of science. Just don't teach it in public schools.
    I don't find much to disagree with, except perhaps a strategic assessment.

    The result of this debate is being settled at the ballot box. Trying to meet dishonest theists theologically will not, under any circumstance, help the outcome on election day.

    No public forum, debate, or discussion for the benefit of Kansas voters will change much.

    Compared to the end goal of resisting this religious evil, meeting them with legitimate theology accomplishes nothing.

    I agree that this is primarily a political issue; but I don't think your response is likely to be widely politcally successful.
    Nor I. But I think it gives a better foothold to shift the burden back to the creationists than to meet them amid irrationality.

    I will add that I think scientifically valid evidence of God an invalid concept. Science measures; measuring is defining the limits of something; the omnipotent and omniscient god of monotheism has no limits. So I do not think it an effective response against the teaching of Intelligent Design. I think the simple argument that God is outside the limits of science is a good one against the teaching of intelligent design.
    We may be orbiting the same point--

    We need to convince well-meaning, instinctively religious, and scientifically ignorant people that teaching Intelligent Design is wrong, not necessarily that ID itself is.
    --although I would go just a little farther and say that "teaching ID as a science" is wrong. Teaching it in general is merely problematic, and not beyond possibility.

    However, something about this political fight suggests these folks aren't well-intended. They're greedy, selfish, and superstitious; I owe them some consideration because I think many are well-suited by the label of "victim". I feel badly because they can't seem to help themselves, but if they openly refuse to grab the life-ring thrown to them, there's nothing I can do; the seas are nasty and I wouldn't order anyone into such dangerous waters for the rescue. There's no reason to send good sailors down with the storm.

    You may not be aware that some proponents of ID are moving away from a literal reading of the bible to distance themselves from Creationists, so ' "God works in mysterious ways", and that God needs not operate in accord with nature ' are not the arguments we will need to address in the future.
    I hope you're right.

    But anything tested under Intelligent Design cannot be shown to contribute to Intelligent Design specifically unless the designer is measured, or at least shown. If an IDster shows me God, then we're back to "mysterious ways" until we unravel those ways, and that's fine with me. Distancing themselves from biblical creationists is a mere cosmetic change. Kind of like if Mary Kay Letourneau said, "No, that wasn't me. See? I wear different eye shadow."

    Remember, pedophiles don't call it rape or abuse. They call it "man/boy love".

    Doesn't change what they do, does it?
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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    I agree with you about the motives of those who defend teaching ID as an alternative to evolution; it's the thin edge of the wedge of religion in the schools.

    They are not the people to whom I referred; there are people who believe teaching ID is harmless [and I don't think I will qualify that with ".. as a science"] and see no reason to oppose it. Even I think ID is harmless as a philosophy [but I still don't think I want it taught in public high schools].

    Now, most of these people will not respond sympathetically to my snarling, 'Don't try to shove your religion down these kids' throats'. So, I need to present my view both in a fashion with which they will sympathize and in a fashion sympathetic to their religious instincts. [Although the temptation to introduce Vodoun to the discussion, with particular emphasis on the conflation between petit deities and Christain saints is often hard to resist].

    But on the whole public debate issue; I think the issue should be publicly debated, but not with a naive assumption of goodwill and a desire for compromise on both sides. Both sides should have the same goal, to convince the undecided, and use the same basic debate technique, that of framing the specific questions to be addressed so as to present their position most effectively.
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    Here's a strange thing - in the same week as Tom Tomorrow's cartoon, (see up) Tom the Dancing Bug did the same subject in a different way.

    http://www.ucomics.com/tomthedancingbug/2005/05/14/
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    Intelligent design, if understood in an intelligent way, is a philosophical/religious idea and need not have anything to do with the discussion of how evolution works.
    It should only refute the concept that it occurs randomly, which has no proof. How can you prove a pattern is random? Even computer-generated (i.e. human-generated) randomness isn't really random.
    Please let me know if you have some proof that evolution can not be an effect of something other than the pressure of natural selection acting AT RANDOM.
    Why can't we just leave it at - "we're not sure about the why, those discussions belong in philosophy class, but here is the how."
    Why is it so hard?
    This subject shouldn't be used as a desperate weapon of faith or anti-faith.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by cole grey
    Intelligent design, if understood in an intelligent way, is a philosophical/religious idea and need not have anything to do with the discussion of how evolution works.
    Right. So it shouldn't be taught in public schools.

    It should only refute the concept that [evolution] occurs randomly, which has no proof.
    You are conflating [or perhaps only confusing] the process of evolution with mutation. In the simplest explanation, mutation are "random", but the most advantageous are selected for by environmental pressure, so that the species evolves. That is not random.

    Please let me know if you have some proof that evolution can not be an effect of something other than the pressure of natural selection acting AT RANDOM.
    There are other influence on evolution, such as genetic drift and the stability of certain forms during development.
    And environmental pressures are NOT RANDOM,

    Why can't we just leave it at - "we're not sure about the why, those discussions belong in philosophy class, but here is the how."
    Why is it so hard?
    This subject shouldn't be used as a desperate weapon of faith or anti-faith.
    Well, I would prefer it be taught in Comparative Religions.
    "Faith or anti-faith" in what?
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    Look, I know all that, but you aren't responding to what I was saying. There is no proof that there isn't a designer who encoded the universe to work the way it does, and the sane among the religious should be fine allowing the mechanism to be taught, as long as nobody pretends evolution is some type of proof against the existence of the metaphysical.
    Saying whether these patterns of existence occur in our universe because they happened to do so, or because there is something greater at work, is not a debate which can occur within a class on biology.
    That is it.
    Let's leave the kids with, "we don't know", and everyone needs to kiss and make up, and move on to insisting on healthy school lunches or whatever.

    p.s. I am assuming there are a lot more philosophy classes in high schools than comparative religion classes, so I offered the most lilkely place to bring the subject up. I am also assuming that the colleges can teach whatever they want based on what the trustees approve.
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by cole grey
    Look, I know all that, but you aren't responding to what I was saying.
    Cole, I responded point by point to what you said.

    And if you read the post carefully you will notice that I only disagreed with you on your use of the word "random".
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    The whole issue is a problem created by scientific educators or educators who haven't got enough of a handle on the nature of science. The general public are therefore ill-informed about science and leave it to "those who are able". The public are then easily swayed by the noisy minority of religious nutters forcefully expessing their ideologies.
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  27. #26  
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    It should only refute the concept that it occurs randomly, which has no proof. How can you prove a pattern is random?

    You wouldn't make that statement if you actually understood evolution.

    There is no proof that there isn't a designer who encoded the universe to work the way it does...

    There is no evidence whatsover to even speculate a designed universe, why would one even leap to such a ridiculous conclusion other than to prop up other assertions of theists?

    the sane among the religious

    Oxymoron.

    nobody pretends evolution is some type of proof against the existence of the metaphysical.

    Science does that job all on its own.
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